Daniel Andrews is too late in cleaning up Labor’s gas policy mess

Today, Daniel Andrews and Labor announced the end of their damaging moratorium on conventional onshore gas exploration. The Liberal Nationals have called on Labor to lift its damaging moratorium for years.

Andrews has dragged his feet on lifting this ban. The delay means it will take the gas industry a significant time to recover from Labor’s reckless policies and get back to producing the gas vitally important to Victorians.

Andrews is also taking far too long to remove this exploration moratorium. Instead of ending his moratorium on 1 July 2021, he should be lifting it immediately.

This ban has hurt Victorians. According to the independent Australian Energy Regulator (AER), Victorian gas prices have spiralled out of control under this Government. Prices have increased from $3.33 a gigajoule in December 2014 to $7.50 in December 2019. That is a whopping increase of 125.2% in just five years.

Worse, the ACCC found in January this year that by 2024 (see p 28), Victorian demand for gas would exceed supply. That means we would not be producing enough gas because of Labor’s failed policies.

Labor has also said that it will reserve any new gas found for use in Victoria. The Liberal Nationals welcomes this, but it is stolen directly from page four of our own policy on ending Labor’s damaging moratorium.

Finally, Victorian Labor has accepted the position of Federal Labor spokesman for Resources, Joel Fitzgibbon. He said in November 2019 that Daniel Andrews’ gas ban made “neither economic nor environmental sense.”

The Liberal Nationals support Labor’s complete reversal on this issue but condemns them for taking so long to come to such a glaringly obvious conclusion.

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Energy, Renewables and Resources, Ryan Smith:

“It’s about time that Labor lifted its foolish gas exploration ban, which saw gas prices increase by more than double under Daniel Andrews, and put Victorian gas supplies at risk.

“Labor has flat out copied the Liberal Nationals’ position on gas exploration policy. It’s just a pity Andrews did not do it sooner before prices spiralled out of control.”

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